No politician in history has leveraged social media to the extent of President Obama. Here's how his administration stays ahead of the curve--and what you can learn about effective social brand-building from the Tweep-in-Chief.
President Barack Obama and his team have leveraged the political power of social media since the Illinois senator announced his intention to run for the top job in the White House in 2007. According to techpresident.com, in 2008 Obama's online efforts included 13 million emails, 4 million digital donors, and 2 million members on My.BarackObama.com, a social network that inspired grassroots campaigning on a scale never seen before in the United States. And the momentum has carried through his term: During last night's Democratic National Convention, Obama's nomination-acceptance speech set a new record of 52,000 tweets a minute.
Rahaf Harfoush was one of the strategists on Obama's team during the 2008 campaign. As she explained to me in an email, "All initiatives were designed to get people off of their computer chairs and into the streets knocking on doors and raising money." Harfoush, author of Yes We Did: An Inside Look At How Social Media Built the Obama Brand, describes how social media was used in conjunction with traditional media to rally voters.
"Their strategic objective of converting online organizing into offline action showed their implicit understanding that the gap between online and offline would need to be bridged and translated into value-added actions in the real world," says Harfoush.
Whatever your political views, it's hard to dispute Obama's continued success in the social media sphere. While other high-profile politicians are present across the top networking sites, the President and his team always seem to be one step ahead. As we watch anxiously for Obama's next digital move, there are many lessons to be learned about how to use social media to build your brand, whether you're a company or an individual.
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